Daily News Headlines: 22 April 2020

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Coronavirus: Community deaths increase
The number of coronavirus-related deaths in care homes more than quadrupled from 217 to 1,043 in the space of a week, according to latest figures. The weekly ONS figures also show the proportion of coronavirus deaths outside hospitals rose to 16 per cent, with 83.9 per cent (8,673 deaths) occurring in hospitals. LGA Community Wellbeing Board Chairman Cllr Ian Hudspeth said the figures highlighted the “severe challenge” being faced in care homes and other community settings. He added: “Every death from this virus is a tragedy. We must take every possible step to protect our elderly and most vulnerable and those who work with them from this disease. Council social care staff and care homes need urgent access to reliable and ongoing supplies of quality PPE, increased rapid and comprehensive testing and greater support with staffing and other equipment, on an equal footing with the NHS.” Cllr Hudspeth was also interviewed about the LGA’s response live on the BBC News channel.
ITV Online, FT p3, Metro p1, Mirror p6, Sky News Online, Times Online, Guardian Online, Sun Online

Coronavirus: Fly-tipping increases during lockdown
Fly-tipping incidents have soared since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, according to an app created to combat the illegal dumping of rubbish. Businessman Martin Montague says his ClearWaste app is being updated daily with hundreds of photographs from across the UK. The app allows those who find fly-tip sites to take and upload photos, which his staff pass on to the relevant council. The LGA’s environment spokesman Cllr David Renard said: "Alongside government, the LGA is looking at exploring ways in which, on a limited basis, recycling centres can be reopened, but until such times as announcements are made we must insist that people keep their waste on household premises."
Sky News Online

Coronavirus: PPE shortages
There have been more than 8,000 offers of help from UK companies to provide PPE for frontline workers and the Government was now working with 159 UK manufacturers, the Health and Social Care Secretary has announced. Matt Hancock also told the daily Downing Street press briefing that the UK was in "direct talks" with companies abroad to buy items, especially in China. Meanwhile a delayed plane carrying PPE from Turkey has landed at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. It comes as the UK recorded another 823 coronavirus hospital deaths, taking the total number to 17,337.
BBC Online, all papers

Coronavirus: Only a quarter of care workers being tested
Only a quarter of care workers eligible for coronavirus tests have managed to access them, according to data by the National Care Forum. By the end of this week, all 30,000 care providers should have been contacted to identify workers eligible for testing. There are currently nine drive-in test centres across England, with plans to expand this to 17 in the next few weeks.
Sky News Online

Coronavirus: Over-60s at risk too, say scientists
UK guidance for people aged 70 and over to self-isolate is leaving people aged 60 to 69 at increased risk from coronavirus, say scientists. The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University said the death rate among people in their 70s is 8 per cent, and the rate among those in their 60s is 3.6 per cent, which the scientists said was “still substantial”. They recommend the 7.3 million people in their 60s in the UK should be more careful about physical distancing and personal hygiene.
Guardian, Mail

Coronavirus: UK universities developing vaccine
Human trials for a vaccine developed by the University of Oxford would begin on Thursday, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has said. Mr Hancock told the daily Downing Street press briefing that "the best way to defeat coronavirus" was through a vaccine and that two leading vaccine developments at UK universities would receive a total of £42.5 million to support their clinical trials.
BBC Online, Sky News Online, all papers

Coronavirus: Emergency grants warning
Official figures show that some local authorities have managed to deliver only about a tenth of the funds meant to provide a cash lifeline to businesses hit by the fallout from coronavirus. The data shows that of the £12.3 billion distributed to councils in England, £6.1 billion had been passed to businesses as of Monday. Some local authorities redeployed staff to make sure that money was paid quickly and have managed to pass on all, or the vast majority, of their allocation.
Times, Mail

Coronavirus: Recycling being burnt amid virus-linked rise in waste and staff absence
Household recycling is being burnt by some councils following a huge increase in domestic waste and coronavirus-related staff absences during the pandemic, it is reported. Some local authorities confirmed they were temporarily incinerating recycling, while others also said they had stepped down their recycling services for the time being.

Coronavirus: Government considers putting early-release prisoners up in hotels
Prisoners released early from jail could be put up in hotels at taxpayers’ expense because of the shortage of “safe” accommodation in the community, it is reported. The Ministry of Justice is drawing up the plans to use hotels like Travelodge and Marriott, bed and breakfasts, private rented and local authority accommodation because of the risk of prisoners ending up homeless or in unstable accommodation.

Coronavirus: Cities with worst air pollution have bigger coronavirus outbreaks, say scientists
Higher air pollution has been linked to coronavirus as a study by Cambridge University says cities with the worst air have bigger outbreaks of cases. An analysis by the Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit compared regional data on total COVID-19 cases and deaths, against levels of three major air pollutants, using data from seven regions in England.

Coronavirus: One in 100 eligible children go to school
Less than one per cent of pupils are attending school during the lockdown despite the Government expecting about 10 per cent to turn up for lessons, official figures show. Children who are vulnerable or whose parents are key workers are entitled to continue going to school while their classmates remain at home. Department for Education data shows that on the first day of operation, only 3.7 per cent of pupils attended school, falling to 1.3 per cent by the beginning of the second week, March 30.
Times, Mail, BBC Online

Coronavirus: Headteachers urge government to fix UK free school meals website
Headteachers have reported growing frustration with a government scheme to provide food to children during lockdown which has suffered IT glitches and delays amid high demand for the service. School leaders said they had spent large parts of their Easter breaks addressing problems with the scheme, which is operated by French corporate services group Edenred on behalf of the Department for Education and promises regular food vouchers to parents of the 1.3 million disadvantaged children who are eligible for free school meals.

Coronavirus: Homelessness
In an opinion piece for Times Red Box, Big Issue founder Lord Bird writes that his organisation is working on changing the mentality of the Government, so that homeless people are not left to go back on to the streets once the outbreak passes.
Times Red Box

School pollution trebled by parents giving pupils a lift
Parents driving their children to school cause a trebling in pollution levels nearby and some of the toxic particles get into classrooms, a study has found. Scientists at the University of Surrey installed monitors at a large primary school and found that fine particles from vehicles lining up to drop off children were the main source of air pollution around the school, with the level three times greater than in the off-peak period.